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Pakistan Government, Taliban Start Peace Talks

Negotiators for the Pakistani government and the Taliban have met in Islamabad for a first round of talks aimed at ending the militants' bloody insurgency.

Thursday's meeting was aimed at charting a plan for future peace talks.

The Taliban demands include imposition of strict Islamic law, the release of its fighters from jail and the withdrawal of government troops from northwestern tribal areas of Pakistan. The region is known for harboring local and foreign militants

Government negotiators have said they are not optimistic about the talks.

Thousands have died in the seven-year insurgency.

Critics have accused Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government of taking a weak stand against the Taliban.

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